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The Adrian Peterson fantasy resurgence can’t last forever

Expecting Adrian Peterson to disappoint is a bankrupt business. Heading into the 2012 campaign fresh off late-season knee surgery, Peterson wasn’t expected to immediately recapture his status as the premier running back in the game, then he turned in his best year with 2,097 rushing yards.

He missed the bulk of the 2016 season after suffering another knee injury, and we thought he was done. Thoughts of his demise were emboldened by his short, lackluster showing with the Saints before being traded to the Cardinals.

Then two of his first three games with Arizona were strong outings, and we thought he was back. Then his final three were underwhelming, and we thought he was done again.

This year, rookie Redskins back Derrius Guice was injured in the preseason, and a desperate Washington team tapped Peterson to fill the gap. Again we doubted him, and again he proved us wrong.

Five times in eight games, he has topped 90 yards rushing, and he has five total touchdowns on the season to rank 16th in fantasy scoring in PPR leagues and 10th in standard scoring. The lesson: Write him off at your own peril.

So what does the Madman do? Well, we’re ready to write him off again. Look, he is 33, ancient for running backs. Thus, we will not be surprised if he hits a wall this season, as he appeared to last year. But that isn’t the biggest reason.

His schedule ahead is not beneficial. He has tough matchups in six remaining games between now and Week 16 — Texans, Cowboys and Eagles before a break against the Giants, then the Jaguars and Titans.

But before that difficult gauntlet, Peterson gets an enormously favorable matchup against the Buccaneers — who rank in the bottom six in points allowed to opposing fantasy RBs and have allowed five TDs by running backs over the past two weeks.

Doubt Peterson when he has burned us so many times before? Especially this week in such a primo setting? Yes, and yes. In this case, it is more about Peterson’s surroundings — specifically, the health of his offensive line.

His O-line is a triage unit, a collection of bandages and braces and pain. Three Washington linemen will miss the game — left tackle Trent Williams (dislocated thumb), left guard Shawn Lauvao (torn ACL) and right guard Brandon Scherff (torn pectoral). A fourth, right tackle Morgan Moses, is dealing with a knee problem. As ESPN reported earlier in the week, there is a chance the Redskins will have to start multiple blockers who were not on the roster Monday.

So the question isn’t whether you think the Redskins can exploit the Buccaneers’ poor run defense, it is whether they can do so with the cast of “The Replacements” working in the trenches.

Add in the fact Tampa Bay’s pass defense is even worse than its run D, and the Washington QB is Captain Checkdown Alex Smith, a short-passing attack might be the best method to a hide a makeshift offensive line. That doesn’t bode well for fantasy lineups including Peterson.

The Decision

Post fantasy Madman Drew Loftis and Roto Rage Jarad Wilk debate whom you should start this week:

Chris Godwin vs. Corey Davis

Chris Godwin and Corey DavisAP; Getty Images

Drew: Godwin — Adam Humphries has gotten a lot of love in the passing game the past two weeks, and Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard always demands attention. Godwin could be the forgotten man. He is getting more snaps than Jackson and is more explosive than Humphries. But this is just as much a pick against Davis. We have no trust in the Titans’ offense, and don’t envision them scoring at the pace Tampa Bay will. More overall scoring equals more opportunities for fantasy players to score.

Jarad: Davis — You’re right about one thing: Godwin will be the forgotten man. After averaging about 10 fantasy points in his first five games this season, and scoring a TD in four of those games, he has scored about 14 points over his past three games. Davis has six or more targets in six of his eight games this season, and remains the No. 1 option while going against a defense that has allowed the third-most receiver TDs (19) and the sixth-most yards (2,571). Davis will get the targets and likely have a better shot at making a fantasy impact.

Last week: Drew 12.8 (Willie Snead — 7-58 receiving), Jarad 8.7 (Courtland Sutton — 3-57 receiving)
Season: Drew leads series, 6-3

Big Weeks

Andy Dalton QB, Bengals, vs. Saints
(FanDuel $7,900/DraftKings $5,800)
Saints chasing Tampa Bay for worst fantasy defense vs. QBs. Have given up seven combined passing TDs the past three weeks. Dalton has multiple TDs in all but two games.

Dion Lewis RB, Titans, vs. Patriots
(FD $5,800/DK $4,600)
Appears to have taken over primary duties for Titans — 19 carries last week to just six for Derrick Henry, in a scenario that presented best possible scenario for Henry, which is Titans playing with a lead.

Duke Johnson Jr. RB, Browns, vs. Falcons
(FD $5,600/DK $4,700)
Don’t worry, Nick Chubb still should do well, but the Falcons struggle against pass-catching RBs — most receptions allowed (68) and one of just four teams to allow more than 500 RB receiving yards.

Jordan Reed TE, Redskins, at Buccaneers
(FD $5,200/DK $4,400)
Tampa Bay has allowed a TD to a tight end in five of the past six games. With depleted Washington WR corps, targets have to go somewhere, and Maurice Harris won’t get them all.

Small Weaks

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay
Kenny GolladayGetty Images

Kenny Golladay WR, Lions, at Bears
(FD $5,800/DK $5,100)
Lines up either on right or in slot close to 75 percent of the time, which pits him in tough matchups against either Kyle Fuller or Bryce Callahan. Bank on it being a Marvin Jones Jr. week.

Allen Robinson WR, Bears, at Lions
(FD $6,300/DK $5,000)
Has one catch over past three games (inactive last week). Of his 25 catches on the season, 14 came in the first two weeks. Competition for usage has emerged in Taylor Gabriel, Trey Burton and Anthony Miller.

T.Y. Hilton WR, Colts, vs. Jaguars
(FD $7,000/DK $5,700)
Despite overall struggles, Jacksonville ranks second in fantasy points allowed to WRs, 8.3 below the league average in PPR formats. Return of Leonard Fournette for Jags could shorten game. Could be shadowed by Jalen Ramsey.

Rob Gronkowski TE, Patriots
(FD $6,900/DK $5,600)
Has been colossal disappointment this season. Facing league’s toughest defense vs. tight ends. Gronk getting few red-zone looks.

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